I think we can safely say that whatever deal with the Devil Kevin Spacey made to have such a glittering career, his tab has been called in. “Nine Lives” is a film which feels about thirty years out of time, inspired by a much more recent phenomenon.
When driven billionaire Tom ‘Fire’ Brand prioritises his company’s new skyscraper over his daughter’s birthday, the fates conspire to teach him a lesson by trapping him inside the body of the family cat. Meanwhile, his boardroom enemies conspire against him.
There’s a notable amount of talent gone to waste in this French production – and Jennifer Garner and Robbie Amell are in it too. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld – his first feature since “Men In Black 3”, despite the frothy sitcom trappings, it’s pretty clear from the opening credits that the ‘inspiration’ for this movie is the popularity of cat videos on the internet. Spacey barely breaks a sweat in the role of the driven business executive who learns a humbling life lesson and changes for the better and is probably grateful that he was literally able to phone in about eighty percent of his role.
If you’re not a fan of feline shenanigans on YouTube, you won’t find much else here to capture your interest. The rest of the characters and plots are underdeveloped and underserved by an indolent script which can’t be bothered to get much further than alternatives to litter trays as the height of humour.
It occasionally feels like it wants to be a throwback to eighties screwball comedies like “The Secret Of My Success” or “Brewster’s Millions” but it lacks the energy and coherence to pull it off. The only highlight is Christopher Walken who camps it up marvellously in a performance that suggests he’s just doing the role for the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
It’s just about passable fair for youngsters but it’ll struggle to hold their attention beyond the YouTube heavy opening credits which, to be honest, are the funniest bit of the whole thing.